February 20, 2019

Books

"Why are there no good graphic novels about Jews and Israel? Like so many works in this genre, a new 350-page graphic treatment of Theodor Herzl is cartoonish in every sense of the word."

"Is it Presidents Day, President's Day, or Presidents' Day? This might just be the greatest question of our time. And unfortunately, nobody has the slightest clue. If they claim to know the right answer, they're lying."

"A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities, the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined..."

"“The Ideas That Made America” by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is an anomaly in the genre. Its brevity is a point of pride, yet it aspires to do a little of everything."

"A few years ago, when it suddenly occurred to us that the internet was a place we could never leave, I began to keep a diary of what it felt like to be there in the days of its snowy white disintegration..."

"Thirty years after making waves with her children’s book ‘Heather Has Two Mommies,’ author Lesléa Newman traces a young Jewish immigrant’s ‘Journey’"

"A series of dismaying events has transpired at Augsburg University, in Minneapolis. According to several undisputed news reports, it began in October, when a student read a sentence in class from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time..."

"Yael Tamir’s new book, “Why Nationalism,” looks at an old idea through the prism of our newly nationalistic world... we discussed how nationalism went from an élite project to an anti-élite one, and how liberals might make use of it."

"Welcome, Bearded Man with a Slouchy Beanie Riding the Subway. You are reading me, a book. I am the reason that everyone in this train car is looking at you."

"Le Guin chose this “despised, marginal” genre, she once said, for a reason she couldn’t acknowledge to herself at the time: Because it was “excluded from critical, academic, canonical supervision, leaving the artist free.”"

"On any given day, someone somewhere is likely leading an Artist’s Way group, gamely knocking back the exercises of “The Artist’s Way” book, the quasi-spiritual manual for “creative recovery,” as its author Julia Cameron puts it..."

"It’s not the best time to publish an appreciation & defense of Henry Miller, whose Tropics trilogy, written in the 1930s, was banned for decades in the US for obscenity, and then indicted by feminist critic Kate Millet in her book Sexual Politics.,"

"Removing the term from the text—which has been done—falsifies the novel. But there’s nothing important I can add to Twain by saying the n-word aloud."

"Unlike the recent attack on lampoon magazine Charlie Hebdo or the threats against Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, the creative text behind the Rushdie Affair was renowned as high art."

"I believe that most modern nations have adequate controls to regulate gene-modified babies, but it is important to explain why there will always be an ambiguous health benefit in creating GMO humans."

"The encyclopedists’ plan to catalog knowledge seemed harmless enough. But what they intended was far more subversive: to restructure knowledge itself."

"The debate over progress is—overtly at least—a debate about technology: what’s worked, what’s likely to work, and at what cost. That sounds straightforward, but it’s not."

"It was a stunning scene, the president verbally shredding the speaker of the House, a member of his own party. And all the while, Sims was listening from the entryway, the improbable wallflower of the West Wing."

"When we enter into sacred texts as readers, rather than as worshippers—treating them [.] as ancient vessels of meaning crafted by people who, like all writers, had their good moments and their misses—we gain much, but we lose much, too."

"Lipstadt’s book takes the form of a series of letters between Lipstadt and two fictional characters—a Jewish student and a non-Jewish colleague—whom Lipstadt describes as composites of people she knows who are worried about anti-Semitism."

"...a book by MacKenzie Bezos—one half of the richest couple in the world, partner to a man who has exploded paradigms of retail, labor, even capitalism itself, and upended the very industry that publishes her books—just has to be a roman à clef."

"A new book wants us to navigate life’s crossroads with the precision of a military exercise. But personal decisions are more difficult than even the most consequential political decisions."

"In the beginning there was a 4th-century Latin translation of the Hebrew Bible, but over the millennia a myriad English translations 'moved vpon the water'"

"Fukuyama’s new book does contain a thesis. As it happens, the new idea stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the older one. Liberal democracy, far from showing us a glimpse of a universalist future, now, we are told, faces a severe crisis. "

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Free self-improvement idea for 2019: become Susan Sontag. Listen, it’s not as hard as it sounds... you might have a very interesting year."

"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."

"When we pick up an old novel, we’re not bringing the novelist into our world and deciding whether he or she is enlightened enough to belong here; we’re journeying into the novelist’s world and taking a look around."

"In my twenties the question was never “What do I want to read?” but rather “Who do I want to be?”—and bookstores were shrines I pilgrimaged to for answers."

"Reading through dossier after dossier on 16 American writers contained in Writers Under Surveillance: The FBI Files, what strikes you immediately is the terrifying absurdity of Hoover’s obsession with anyone who didn’t follow his party line..."

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"She was a 20-yr-old college student in Alabama who had become convinced of the righteousness of the Islamic State. So she duped her parents into thinking she was going on a college trip, and instead bought a plane ticket to Turkey with her tuition."

"The composition of the Democratic field represents the diversity of the country. With so many serious frontrunners who are not, for a change, older white men, the Democrats are showing that they are a party representing the future of the country."

"The American-Israel relationship is all about the Benjamins, reflecting the shared values of “the first American,” Benjamin Franklin, and modern Zionism’s founder, Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl."

"When H. Alan Scott looked up through the mikvah waters, he says he saw the shadows of his past and present lives undulating above him: Poor Mormon kid. Gay man. Comedian. Cancer survivor."

"For a decade, the oligarchs of Silicon Valley and Puget Sound worked overtime to win over progressives. For the most part, they enthusiastically back the Left on its immigration, environmental, gender, and racial agendas."

" In the last twenty-five years, Amazon has gorged on late capitalism’s values of ease and cheapness, threatening to monopolize not only the book world, but the world-world."

"I knew I was gay when I was eight years old, at least subconsciously... I didn’t know that I was a political conservative for many more years, until I came of age in an era of political correctness and resurgent socialism..."

"Why are there no good graphic novels about Jews and Israel? Like so many works in this genre, a new 350-page graphic treatment of Theodor Herzl is cartoonish in every sense of the word."

"From the outside it may look like anything goes within the confines of polyamory. But actually, most non-monogamous relationships are based on a highly personalized set of agreements."

"My cuke avoidance is what’s known as a food aversion, and although aversions are widespread in the United States, hating a food that others love is socially coded as fussy or unsophisticated."

"The US Food and Drug Administration is officially warning consumers that buying young blood infusions to improve their health is not a good idea. It is, in fact, a very bad idea because there is no clinical evidence that the infusions do anything.."

"Yes: I love Poland. How to love a people who supposedly “imbibe anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk,” in the words of our new foreign minister, Israel Katz?"